Officials from the Utah Internet Crimes against Children Task Force say they have been seeing alarming growth in the number of adults who are buying nude photos from children online.
They recently arrested a man in Salt Lake City, Jesse Neal Knight, who asked more than 200 girls to send him nude photos. Over three years, Knight admitted to spending more than $30,000 on photos of teen girls. In some cases, he even got girls to send pictures of naked toddler or infant family members. Commander of the Utah task force Alan White says this case is not unusual, and it’s been happening more and more frequently.
White says predators are meeting children online and on social media using apps like Snapchat and Kik. Children are being paid online through apps like Venmo or Cash App.
White says as this trend grows, it's important for parents to set boundaries and restrictions as kids learn and navigate the digital world. He says we must realize that all children are vulnerable, and that parents need to have discussions with their kids about online predators. Importantly, he also says it’s best for parents to not threaten to take away their phones because then they will be less likely to talk about their situations out of fear of being punished.